She’s only 22, but Kellie Pickler is already a classic rags-to-riches story: Raised in a North Carolina trailer park, she burst onto the music scene in 2006 as an American Idol finalist. Two albums later (and 30 pounds lighter), the country music queen’s crisscrossing the continent with Taylor Swift‘s Fearless tour – and sleepin on her bus.


"My little house on wheels," she says. "Funny. As a child I thought, ‘I’m going to be a big country star so I can get out of this damn trailer.’ Then I go and get one. I mean it’s a $1 million trailer but it’s still a trailer."


OK! caught up with the "Best Days of Your Life" singer at Nashville’s lush Cheekwood Botanical Garden.


You’re touring with Taylor Swift. Why sleep on the bus?

I don’t want to sleep on somebody else’s mattress, so even five-star hotels are horrid to me. I like sitting on my own toilet that no one else has sat on. I have a huge king-size bed and my little Chihuahua, Moo Moo, sleeps with me.


Don’t you get lonely, just traveling around America in a bus?

No, I don’t like people, so I don’t get lonely [laughs]. I enjoy my own company. I talk to myself and I have Moo Moo, which is good enough.


How are you and Taylor getting along?

She’s like a little sister to me. It’s great having another girl on the road with me. And we don’t have many females who can headline at the moment – she’s the only girl in the country who can sell out arenas, she’s one of the few!


Women in the country music scene seem to stick together.

Absolutely! Country music has embraced me and nurtured me. That was a great trade for me: I left my family in North Carolina, but got a new family in Tennessee. A lot of people come here from broken homes and Nashville becomes their family – and that was my case.


You have a strained relationship with your mother. Do you have a mom-type figure in your life at the moment?

Yeah, I think God has definitely brought certain people into my lifef to fill certain voids. I’ve found great women to love me and pray for me and support me. Dolly Parton – she is my favorite. She is the reason I fell in love with country music. I love her. She handles herself with a lot of grace.


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So what’s on your wish list? Do you have a goal for five years’ time?

I would love to cross over into television and film… and I have to meet Clint Eastwood. Of course I would love to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry. It would be such a huge honor. I also need to go skydiving and scuba diving. I’ll be the first one to do something crazy. I’ve always kinda been a tomboy. My grandmother would try to dress me up in a pretty dress but I’d come home with the fabric ripped, holes in my panty hose and gum in my hair. I was not a lady. I would fall out of trees and climb on the roof.


Any advice you would give other young women growing up today?

Find what makes you happy and make it happen. And never settle –like, don’t settle for some loser guy who treats you like s–t; go find a man. Somebody who knows how to fix things. Not someone worried about breaking a nail. I can’t date someone who wears more makeup than I do!

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